Husband and I love the board game Ticket to Ride. We own the original USA version, the 10th Anniversary version, the Europe version, plus two additional maps, the USA 1910 expansion and a rather lovely set of Halloween trains. I’ll point out now that I will not be going into the basic game rules or even how brilliant this game is to play in this post so if you want to know any of that stuff, I recommend checking out my previous review of it here.
Pip gets a little bit upset when told that she’s just a little bit young for one of our games, even if the bad news is followed by the offer to play on of the games more suited to her age group. This has been particularly true for Ticket To Ride, a game that’s designed for 8 years and up, I think because the little train carriages and the brightly coloured cards appeal to her.
After a bit of a think, it occurred to us that there’s really no reason for her to be entirely left out. The game just needed a little tweaking. The only part of the game that she can’t really manage is the tickets, given that her reading skills are very basic at the moment and the place names are mostly not ones she would recognise, given that we were looking at the USA version as it’s much simpler than Europe to begin with, what with having no stations, tunnels or ferry routes.
So, we removed the whole concept of the tickets. Instead, we simply had train cards that we used to make train routes to get points. We also decided not to use the Longest Route bonus just for this first game to keep things really basic. We let her use our special Halloween trains just because they look a bit more exciting than the regular trains but we’re not quite as precious about them as we are about the really detailed sets in our anniversary edition.
Pip loved it. She actually did very well and quickly picked up on the idea that the longer trains got more points. She also tried to link her trains together into one long route so I think we’ll add the longest route bonus back in when we play again.
This simpler version was obviously less challenging and, I will be honest, slightly less enjoyable for us grown ups. However, being able to share our favourite game with Pip and make it some quality family time made it worthwhile.
I think we’ll definitely be playing this again and I’m looking forward to gradually adding it the extra features as Pip’s reading skills develop.